Three properties in Benton County were badly damaged last week when a controlled burn by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources got out of hand. The fire was started on Friday near Vinton and the dry, windy conditions caused the flames to spread.
Glen Dale Geiger is among the landowners with damaged property and he’s shocked the DNR started the fire. “I think…how dumb can you be to build a fire on a day like that?” Geiger said.
Flames torched three of Geiger’s farm buildings and equipment inside. “My corn picker, corn planter, my baler, feed wagons, my other wagon sitting outside, my camper in the corn crib, snow blower, bicycles,” Geiger said. Not to mention his pride and joy, his 1960 convertible. It was destroyed exactly 54 years after the day he bought it.
According to neighbors, the flames spread quickly, burning fields, fence posts and trees for about a mile. Mick Klemesrud, with the DNR, said workers had a plan in place for the controlled burn and followed protocol. That included a weather check-up right before the burn began.
“We called the National Weather Service to get the latest update on what the forecast was for the weather, and they gave us the wrong forecast,” Klemesrud said. “Obviously we don’t ever want this to go wrong, and we are going to find out what happened and we are going to incorporate that into our training.”
No homes were damaged and no injuries were reported during the fire. Klemesrud said the DNR continues to investigate the incident and will determine compensation for those impacted by the fire.
by Jill Kasperie, KCRG-TV